Stanwyck Love: Read This 1981 New York Times Interview with the Legend

It’s no secret that we at AFS love, love, love the great screen star Barbara Stanwyck. She is not only one of the best technicians of the actor’s art in all of classic Hollywood, she exemplifies a sort of independence and self-reliance that we think are always worth admiring and emulating.

A few years back we dedicated three successive Augusts to seasons of Stanwyck’s films:

Precode Stanwyck:

Stanwyck In Her Prime:

And Stanwyck Noir:

And don’t worry. We’ll show much, much much more.

Recently we stumbled across this interview with Miss Barbara Stanwyck (as she was invariably billed in her later years). It appeared in the New York Times at the time that the Film Society at Lincoln Center was welcoming the Brooklyn-born Stanwyck back to the five boroughs for a retrospective of her work. She doesn’t disappoint. Tough, unsentimental, quintessentially Stanwyck. We only wish it were longer:

Some samples:

“Barbara Stanwyck withdrew into Hollywood shadow a decade ago, after her Western television series, ”The Big Valley,” ended. Recluse? She shakes her head determinedly. ”I’m not a yesterday’s woman. I’m a tomorrow’s woman. If I don’t have a job, what am I going to give interviews about? ‘And then I did… And then I did…’ Who the hell cares?”

“Sitting straight as a ramrod, she takes a cigarette from a gold Art Deco case decorated with the sunburst of her face and a ruby, her birthstone. It was a present from Robert Taylor, early in their marriage. That marriage ended in divorce as did her first marriage to Frank Fay, the comedian who starred at the Palace Theater in New York but shriveled in the shadow of his wife in Hollywood. She caresses the cigarette case. ”Losing somebody you love by death or divorce is hard. But if they decide they want to be free, there’s nothing to battle for. You have to let go. Bob and I didn’t stay friends. We became friends again.” She lifts her chin in a jaunty gesture, and the husky voice is a remembrance of dozens of films. ”Time does take care of things.”

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